"His Holiness Pope Francis kissing the feet of our Leaders, as if to say, I serve you, now serve your people in South Sudan was the very message of Easter. It was epitomised by an act of sacrifice that broke the darkness of our captivity, his crucifixion for our sins." - South Sudan Council of Churches
English Africa Service – Vatican City
The force of Crucifixion
“South Sudan has grievously suffered the force of the crucifixion through war, as South Sudanese have turned against each other, discarding the truth, while bringing people to the point of self-doubt. The night has been at its darkest,” the religious leaders say in their Easter pastoral message.
Embrace the new peace agreement
The religious leaders are now urging the people of South Sudan and their political leaders to wholeheartedly embrace the new peace agreement as a commitment made to God and as a way of starting anew.
“The Revitalised Agreement of the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is like a vow made to God, We are saying that Peace is good; Reconciliation is possible, and Unity is better,” reads the Easter message in part. The SSCC message adds, “In the South Sudan National Anthem, we have vowed to protect our nation. Surely, we make this vow each time we sing the national anthem. ‘A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God to do something good ... possible and better’”
Pope Francis kissed the feet of South Sudan’s rival leaders
The Easter pastoral message reiterates the words of Pope Francis when he recently met South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and other South Sudan Vice president-designates, at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. During that meeting, Pope Francis begged the leaders of South Sudan to stay the course of peace. At that meeting, Pope Francis in an extraordinary and unprecedented move then knelt and kissed the feet of South Sudan's rival leaders humbly encouraging them to steer the country towards peace.
The leaders of the South Sudan Council of Churches also attended the closed two-day retreat in the Vatican for South Sudan’s political leaders.
The South Sudan Council of Churches is an ecumenical body comprised of seven member churches and associate churches in South Sudan. SSCC has a strong legacy of peacebuilding, reconciliation and advocacy. The Easter message is jointly signed by the SSCC Chair, Peter Gai Lual; the Catholic Archbishop of Juba, Paulino Lukudu Loro; the Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Justin Badi Arama as well as the Presiding Bishop of the Africa Inland Church, Bishop Dr Arkanjelo-Wani Lemi Jeberi.